Timely Reminder

I ended up last night with one thought in my head – I can’t wait for this one week school holiday to end!

There, I said it.

Phoebie started the one week break from school with fever. I’m talking about the 39.5 deg C kind. She wasn’t particularly whiny but it was a couple of tiring nights. I had to wake up to feed Breyen, and to check Phoebie’s temperature. If her temperature was high, I would wake her up to give her some medicine.

The saving grace was that Ben was on leave the first two days of this week. That helped a lot. I would probably be even more exhausted otherwise.

As Phoebie’s fever broke, it seemed like she got whinier.

We went out yesterday with a couple of her friends, their mum and my mum and Phoebie was a challenge. First, she threw a hissy fit at lunch because she didn’t get to sit with her friends. She was so loud that everyone in the restaurant was looking at her.

I could feel the anger boiling in me, so I dragged her out of the restaurant to set things straight with her. I told Phoebie that she wasn’t going to get her way because she was throwing a tantrum. I also told her that even though she wasn’t seated next to her friends, they were seated just opposite her (the tables were very small, so they were less than an arm-stretch apart).

I only let Phoebie back in the restaurant when she stopped screaming and crying. By the time lunch was over, I was already tired.

The rest of the trip out was decorated with tantrums here and there and my patience was wearing on a very thin and delicate line. I was a time bomb ticking close to detonation.

The final straw came when we were almost home. We walked past our neighbour’s home and saw that her grandchildren came to visit. My neighbour’s daughter wanted to see baby Breyen, so I stopped there for a while. Phoebie took the open door as an invitation and went in to play with the children.

Suddenly, I turned around and saw Phoebie holding a snow globe in her hands. The alarms in my head immediately went off and I told her to put it down.

As Murphy’s law would have it, the snow globe slipped out of her hands and landed on the floor. My heart sank together with it. I apologized profusely and made Phoebie apologize too.

My neighbour was really nice about as I tried to help her clean up the mess, but that was not the point. Phoebie had taken something without permission and even broke it. I really wanted to faint.

I didn’t let Phoebie stay long after that and we went home. I was trying so hard not to blow up and quickly gave her a snack before rushing her off for her nap.

When Ben came home, I told him all about what happened and he decided to have a talk with Phoebie. His tone was gentle but Phoebie started screaming and yelling. That really threw me off and I walked away, busying myself with other things and telling myself to let Ben handle it.

Ben took a long time to talk to Phoebie and even taught her how to count five deep breaths to control herself. By the time he was done talking to her, I felt tired for him too.

After they were done talking, Phoebie came to me and apologized for the whole day and said she would listen to instructions. I relented and hugged her. But as a four-year-old would have it, she took one of my things that she wasn’t supposed to touch while I was in the shower. She saw me coming out of the bathroom and sheepishly put it back. I was tired of scolding her and decided to just ignore her.

Right before bedtime, she came to me to say goodnight but I didn’t answer her. I know that is not the best way to deal with what had happened all day but I was just tired. She gave me a kiss and went to her room.

So after all this ranting about yesterday, why is this entry called “Timely Reminder”?

Because, just as I woke up this morning, I was still feeling lousy about yesterday, until I read this article about four-year-olds.

I’m not trying to find excuses for Phoebie’s behaviour (or mine, for that matter), but well, let’s face it, Phoebie has had to face a lot of changes this year.

Becoming a big sister and learning to share the attention, losing a grandparent and learning about grief, going to a new school, growing more independent and learning a lot of new skills, that’s quite a lot to deal with. She is, after all, only four. Oh wait, she’s only four next month.

So to be fair, I have to learn too. I have to learn to deal with her better. Even though it can be draining both physically and mentally, I have to learn to be more patient with her.

Oh what a journey… But hey, as a parent, I can’t quit because quitting is not an option. When the parenting gets tough, the parent gets tougher (and more resilient).

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